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PHD in the Media

Magazine and newspaper mentions:

Podcasts and Radio Shows

Recent appearances (since release of the Scribner edition):

Earlier appearances (before the Scribner edition):

Book Reviews

Reviews of the 2012 Scribner edition:

  • Jenny Doh,, BOOK :: Perfect Health Diet

    This is one of the most eye-opening books I’ve ever read….

    In just a few weeks of adopting their recommendations, I can already feel the nutritional benefits happening to me. More satisfied, more balanced, and more healthy and clean is how I feel as I have expunged all that is to be avoided out of my diet (for the most part) and embraced their recommendations.

    Mind you, I had been a pretty healthy eater before reading this book. But I feel that PHD offers me a set of tools to fine-tune my diet to a level of near perfection that I didn’t know how to achieve.

    Bravo to Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet for a truly revolutionary book.

  • Peter Turchin, Social Evolution Forum, Starving the Enemy

    “Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life by Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet … is a great book and I recommend it to all.”

  • J. Stanton,, Book Review: Perfect Health Diet (Scribner Edition, December 2012)

    “The Perfect Health Diet is the new baseline from which all future attempts to determine the optimal human diet must be argued and measured…. [I]f you’ve read the previous edition and found it useful, the new edition is well worth buying.”

  • Dennis Mangan, The Breviary, Review of the new edition of Perfect Health Diet

    “This is just a fabulous book. I’ve read many books in the arena of health and nutrition, and I have to say that Perfect Health Diet is hands down the best I’ve ever read. The book addresses almost everything you need to know to live in perfect health, and the arguments of its authors are thoroughly convincing. If you have the slightest interest in improving your health, you owe it to yourself to read this book.”

  • John Durant, Hunter-Gatherer, The perfect gift: Perfect Health Diet

    “Here’s my review: This is the single best book on diet I’ve ever read.”

  • Chris Kresser,, The new Perfect Health Diet

    “[T]his book is a must-read not only for the average health-conscious individual, but also for health professionals that are looking for solid evidence that supports an ancestral nutrition philosophy…. This book could change a lot of lives if read by the right people!”

  • Emily Deans, Evolutionary Psychiatry, The new Perfect Health Diet and Sex at Dawn

    “I think that anyone following the food recommendations of the Perfect Health Diet would find themselves in a healthier and happier state of being…. I like the no holds barred questioning of the status quo…. Paul and Shou-Ching are thoughtful like few in the paleosphere. Am I as certain as they are? No, and that gives me pause. But read their book. Like Sex At Dawn, it will open your mind.”

  • Kamal Patel, Pain Database, Perfect Health Diet, 2012 edition: an in-depth review of an in-depth book…PART 1 OF 2

    “Perfect Health Diet (or PHD, as it’s coincidentally called) is Paleo on steroids. Not the bad steroids that give you acne and make you aggressive, but the good steroids that improve your health and make you think deep thoughts.”

  • Steven Hamley, The Paleo Premise, Book Review: Perfect Health Diet

    “PHD is the best book on the subject of diet/health and is the book I would recommend to people interested in Paleo, weight loss or overcoming health problems.”

Reviews of the original (2010) edition in English:

Reviews of the original (2010) edition in foreign languages:

Leave a comment ?


  1. Just wanted to say..Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a food plan that I can feel good about! For the first time in years I cooked sweet potato for lunch and rice for dinner without the associated guilt…..I had been following a high protein diet (which allowed very few carbs) and even though it offered some (albeit spasmodic) success in weight loss I have been feeling awful and must admit had many instinctive reservations about the cutting out of many plant foods. I have pre-ordered your book which I read about in the Australian Women’s Weekly and it has been promised for Jan.7th (Australian Kindles).
    BTW, coconut oil tastes great in coffee…who would have thought?
    Kind regards,

  2. Just finished reading your new book. It’s great. One thing I particularly noticed though: you barely mention salads. No index entry. And your sample meal plan for a week lists a salad for two days and soup for five days. There is mention of dipping vegetables in fatty dips. I was just wondering why you appear to slight raw vegetable salads.

    • Hi Ida,

      They’re excellent foods. Vegetables by themselves don’t have many calories so you can eat as many as you like. … I suppose we didn’t include them because we had in mind busy professionals and tried to formulate a meal plan that the average person would eat in practice.

  3. Your book is wonderful. I read the first edition and have read and continue to research things in your new book. I am trying to slowly incorporate the good habits of eating how I am supposed to eat and as I do I feel I am gaining better health. Thank you for all the work you both do to help people live healthier lives. And, as a fellow Catholic, I appreciate your your art and songs that you share. God bless! Antoinette

  4. Hi Paul,

    I have 2 questions and just wanted to get your views.

    1. I am trying to find various recipes for gluten free things that also work with the PHD. I found a recipe for a pizza crust. They use dry yeast and gelatin in the mix. are these product ok to use ?

    2. I often get info regarding the cancer link to acidity in the body. What is you view on this ? The PHD diet is the first diet that i love. I dont feel starved. The food is good and it really is a lifestyle now more than a diet. However all fats, all meats, all dairy and rice is acid forming. the only alkali forming food we eat is potato but I’m sure that by the time i have added butter that is a problem.

    As always thanks for all your efforts and reponses.


    • Hi Joia,

      Those ingredients are acceptable, yes. If you look to the food bloggers linked on our recipes page, you may find some alternative recipes for gluten-free foods.

      Re acidity, first I would say that there are many alkaline forming foods on PHD, such as most vegetables. I don’t expect that the typical diet will be far off in terms of balance.

      Second, it really doesn’t matter much what the balance in food is if mineral nutrition is good, since electrolytes like sodium, chlorine (from salt), potassium, magnesium, and calcium provide buffers enabling acids to be excreted in urine, maintaining a healthy pH in the body without any bone loss or other negative effects.

      So there should be no cancer risk from acidity.

      Best, Paul

      • Thanks Paul. I have been worried about cancer since i was about 16 and my mom was recently diagnosed with it so I am a bit of a drama queen about it :)I’m glad my PHD diet is a good option.

  5. I was wondering if there is an alternative to eggs in your diet plan, for I have egg allergy.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Mommy,

      Yes. Liver. Ideally, start with 1/3 lb beef or lamb liver and then eat chicken or duck or goose liver after that. About 1/2 lb per week total would be perfect.

      • What about choline? I’m estimating this amount of liver would be roughly 110 mg/d.

        Adequate Intake (PHD pg 320):
        425 mg/d women
        550 mg/d men

  6. Are gluten free bread made of rice flour acceptable in this plan? The French in me has trouble cutting bread out of my meals all together (cheese and bread is so delicious).

  7. Hi there,

    The breakdown in carb/protein/fat seems easy to follow but I would think there should be individual differences,right? A healthy 6 feet tall man is consuming about 1 lb of safe starch a day but should I be eating the same when I am only a 5’2″ female even though I am active (working out 4-5 days a week)

    • Hi Daisy,

      Women typically eat about 20% fewer calories than men and advice should be scaled down a bit for that reason. Keep the food plate proportions and eat to appetite and you’ll find your way. The amounts are not meant to be precise, everyone eats slightly different amounts of food.

  8. Are you familiar with Dr. Lawerence Wilson’s nutritional balancing program? He recommends avoiding pork, ham, all seafood except for sardines and organ meats because they are toxic. He also recommends avoiding coconut fat.

    I apologize if you have addressed this before. I just discovered your diet and i am very intrigued, however, I find I get overwhelmed by all of the conflicting information out there about healthy diets. Your diet and Dr. Wilson’s appear to be backed by solid research. Thank you.

  9. I am interested in starting your diet but have a question. White rice and rice products seem to be a big part of the diet yet recently high levels of arsenic have been found in rice. Shouldn’t arsenic be of concern in consuming rice? It would seem given this news, one would want to limit their consumption of rice. Please let me know your thoughts on the dangers of high levels of arsenic in rice.

    thank you.

    • Hi Karo,

      Arsenic is a concern but levels are much lower in rice from Asia or California, much lower in white rice than brown rice, and so eating white rice in moderation should not provide dangerous levels of arsenic.

  10. This is a very simple question compared to some of the discussions on this forum, but what are thoughts on potato chips fried in olive oils or avocado oils as an occasional snack? “Potato chips” get such a bad reputation, but if fried in the right oils, could this help??

  11. HI Paul,

    There is something about the crunch from potato chips that make them so addictive and attractive… knowing that potato chips made with olive oil in moderation is ok, I am curious to know what you do think of plantain chips made with palm olein and taro chips made with rice bran oil?


  12. I was referred to your book by my naturopathic doctor after a few years of being thoroughly convinced by and eating by Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s “eat to live” principles, so your suggestions make me a little uncomfortable, yet your arguments seem very convincing. I was wondering what you think of his high nutrient density concept, because it seems to make so much sense. I was also therefore wondering why you do not strongly recommend the daily intake of high nutrient density foods such as kale and collard greens as he does. Also, since calorie restriction has been repeatedly proven to improve life span, why doesn’t your book advocate such restriction, or at least give strategies to reduce calories as much as possible? You say that it is good to have a high body temperature, and in some ways that makes sense. What do you think of Fuhrman’s assertion that it is actually good to have a low body temperature because that indicates efficiency in the body’s activities and therefore that the body, like a machine, is wasting fewer resources and so will burn out less quickly?

    • I would love to know that answer to this also!!! Please Paul answer this question!!

    • Hi Ashleigh,

      Nutrient density is good, and we do recommend daily green leafy vegetables. Kale and collard greens are fine; I personally prefer spinach and seaweed.

      We discuss the ways our diet implements calorie restriction:
      1. Intermittent fasting in animal studies delivers essentially all the benefits of calorie restriction but with a normal caloric intake. We recommend daily intermittent fasting.
      2. We believe our diet is a calorie-minimizing diet; see Chapter 17 of our book for why. It is designed to satisfy appetite with the fewest calories.

      So our book does give strategies for reducing calories as much as possible, it just doesn’t necessarily advertise that that is what it is doing.

      It’s good to have a normal body temperature. It’s more common to have a body temperature that is too low than too high.

      The body doesn’t burn out through energy utilization. That’s a debunked theory of aging.

      Sorry I missed your comment earlier!

      Best, Paul

  13. Hello Paul,

    I have been reading the Perfect Health Diet and am finding it to be a very inspiring read. I recently completed a Whole 30 diet (a paleo diet for 30 days) and liked some of the results (fewer aches and pains, feeling of greater calm, more energy, less swelling) but did not get the dramatic results I’ve heard from others. I was seeking more information about the value of a paleo lifestyle and stumbled upon your book.

    I have been trying to identify an appropriate set of eating goals using the information in PHD but am finding this difficult to do. I’ll explain my difficulty. Using the online tool MyFitnessTracker I estimated that to maintain my current weight I would need to eat 1600 calories. To lose half a pound a week it suggests I eat 1410 calories per day. In reading PHD I estimated I could eat 20% carb, 20% protein and 60% fat. But when I calculated the calories for this, carbs and proteins make up less than 600 calories. I was also wanting to try a ketogenic version of this diet but can’t figure out the macronutrient proportions.

    I wonder if you would be able to shed some light on this and provide some clarity regarding macronutrient ratios for a 1400 daily calorie diet. Is 1400 simply too low?

    Thanks for your help and fabulous book!

    • You didn’t really ask a question? But I hope this helps:

      From that link, copied/pasted, Paul’s words:
      What is the minimum calorie intake that meets all these nutrient considerations?

      So it would seem to be impossible to go below about 1200 calories per day while still being well nourished.

      Many diets recommend a roughly even calorie distribution, with 30-40% of carbs, protein, and fats. This is what a calorie-restricted version of the Perfect Health Diet should look like too.

      Hope this helps!

      You might try the shangri-la diet, (i.e. a tablespoon of MCT oil before meals and after meals) because it changes your perception of the tastiness of food, if you are having trouble keeping to 1400 calories.

      But overall, be well nourished first, then focus on losing weight. The first part is actually quite hard for some of us.

      • Thanks Franny,

        I just read your reply and looked over the info from the link you included. You completely understood my question, thank you.

        The bit I was stuck on was the ratios needing to change for lower calorie intakes. Now I get it 🙂

        Thaks again!

  14. Hello Paul

    I have had a complete thyroidectomy and I am on levothyroxine. I am wondering if it is safe to take potassium iodide under these circumstances.

    I enjoyed your book and love the potatoes after the low carb diet I have been on!


    • Hi Lisa,

      Yes, it is safe to take iodine in moderate doses. After the thyroid the stomach is the next most sensitive organ to iodine. I think anything up to 1 mg per day is fairly risk-free.

  15. Dear Paul,

    I found your book while surfing on the internet googling “Optimum Diet” and have found it to be very interesting compared to most of the literature that passes for an intelligent understanding of daily diets. Since the beginning of 2013, I have implemented an extensive personal Nutrition Guide spreadsheet tracking macro and micro nutrients concerning my Type II diabetes condition for every meal. Your insight concerning vinegar with safe starches intrigued me. Is there any study that “quantifies” the numerical value of glycemic index reduction in conjunction with combined foods such as vinegar and potatoes or butter and rice? Great book by the way!

    Mark Schafer
    8503 Rutgers Street
    Westminster, Co 80031

  16. Mark Bittman’s column in today’s NY Times (“Why I’n Not A Vegan”) has a short paragraph on Paleo with a link to a troubling mouse study from 2009 by Foo, Heller and others. The study results indicated unfavorable atherosclerotic changes when mice followed a low carb/high protein diet. Have you reviewed the study and do you have any comments?

    • Hi Rich,

      Here’s the study:

      It’s a little hard to interpret. They used genetically modified ApoE -/- mice, and the 12% carb 45% protein diet they fed them is very different from PHD proportions of 30% carb 15% protein. Mice eat 7x as many calories per unit body weight as humans, so 45% protein is a huge protein load and will surely lead to ammonia toxicity, plus an undesirable gut dysbiosis and probably very high levels of toxic amines.

      The study is interesting but without clarifying what dietary variables were responsible for the negative effects and what mechanisms linked the variables to the negative effects, it is difficult to tell whether the study would have any relevance to human diets.

      If you’ve read our book, you know we think excess protein is harmful, as is insufficient carbohydrate. It would be good to see if human vlc high protein dieters had any similar symptoms.

  17. I wonder about the premise of the book, which is more or less to follow evolutionary guidelines for diet (eat what the Paleos ate, what’s in mother’s milk, etc.).

    Evolution has the aim of species survival, which relates to reproduction and getting children to reproductive age in good health. But it probably doesn’t care too much about people in their 50s-60s-70s.

    If someone in this age group gets heart disease, who cares? The species will still survive. From an evolution perspective it doesn’t matter. Yet this is the group that in large part wants to get healthier from this diet, which seems to advocate low fiber, few natural grains and legumes, and high saturated fat, exactly the opposite of what my doctors have been recommending.

    I wonder if you can comment on the evolutionary aspect: why should a diet aimed at reproduction of the species lead to a longer, healthier life in old age?

    • Hi zenwriter,

      In humans evolution does care about ages 50-70. Maximum lifespan of chimps and gorillas is 50-60, but in humans it is 120. We are the longest lived of mammals and have clearly been selected for longevity long past reproductive years. That proves evolution does care about grandparents.

      As our book discusses, lipid peroxidation in mitochondria appears to be a major factor shortening lifespans, so are cellular energy excess and micronutrient deficiencies, and our diet minimizes all three factors, so it looks like PHD should be a longevity-maximizing diet. That’s supported by the supercentenarian stories at the end of the book – all supercentenarians seem to eat PHD-like diets.

  18. Hi Paul! I was so excited to hear on your podcast with Evan Brand that you are coming to Australia – do you have any dates booked in yet? I’d love to come and hear you speak.

    • Hi Hayley,

      We were originally thinking of July combining it with our Korea trip but our schedule got too crowded and so we’re now thinking of October/November.

  19. That’s great to hear you are still coming, safe and happy travels!

  20. Heya Paul!

    Do you guys have any info. on or opinion on The Omni Diet by Tana Amen? I don’t know much about it, but what I’ve heard doesn’t sound too dissimilar from your recommendations.

  21. The Australia Dietitians Association responds to the PHD as described in the Jan 2013 issue of Australian Women’s Weekly:

    The response is not suprising, considering their corporate sponsorship:

  22. Hello, I came across this website and am intrigued by the diet. I am wondering as a diabetic, Type 2, but possibly a Type 1 1/2, because I was thin when diagnosed and still need a little insulin as well as Metformin, how do you handle the highe sugar spikes when eating potatoes or rice? I tried eating half a baked potato with dinner and my blood sugar level went up 70 points (with insulin)!

    How long typically would it take to not see the levels spike so high?

    Thanks much!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Typically diabetics want to eat a bit less carbs and more protein than our regular diet, but for most it is only a bit; having a bit of carbs improves insulin sensitivity and leads to better glycemic control and reduced adrenal stress. However, there are individual variations and the more you tend to Type I / complete loss of insulin function, the lower carb you typically want to go.

      It is important to be consistent in your carb intake so that the body adapts to a consistent level of insulin sensitivity.

      It is very important that starches be combined with fats, fiber, and acids – vinegar or lactic acid from a ferment are best – to reduce postprandial hyperglycemia. See

      Also, eating some sugary whole foods (beets, carrots, berries) with the starch can help the liver regulate blood glucose levels.

      You should adapt within a few weeks in terms of whole body insulin sensitivity. However, adaptations to gut flora and to small intestinal infections/overgrowth (very common in diabetics) can take months to years.

  23. Thanks Paul for your response. How does one handle the gut flora/small intestinal overgrowth? Is this handled by adpoting to your recommended diet?


  24. please rethink the easy access diagramof what to and what not to eat,it is so confusing.please can you email me an exact what not to eat list,thank you,other than that ,it is a brilliant book.

  25. please email me the what not to eat list to

  26. My husband and I are working hard to find and use gluten-free flours and starches in our baking and cooking. We stumbled across millet and were wondering if this is good, gluten-free, safe flour option? Thanks for your feedback!

  27. Hi Paul,

    An article currently in press for the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (abstract here: seems to conclude that there is no lower limit below which arsenic exposure ceases to do measurable damage. I’m having difficulty knowing what to make of and how to apply the results, since they are talking about arsenic exposure from drinking water in ppm, and it seems to me like what ultimately matters is the arsenic load, if you will –- i.e., how many ug of arsensic per unit time is one ingesting?

    I recently added rice and potatoes as safe starches (and I no longer wake up with dry eyes or a sore throat), but in light of new research, I’m now wondering if I should drop the rice? (I eat only Lundberg California white rice, usually Jasmine, btw.)

    Can you offer any insight on this? I really do like rice, but if it’s doing measurable damage, I don’t like it *that* much. (Maybe I should just up my dark chocolate intake. 🙂


    • Hi Kevin,

      I doubt low doses of arsenic are dangerous. First, it’s not true for any other toxin. Second, there is evidence that if arsenic detoxification pathways (via methylation) are working properly, low doses of arsenic may extend lifespan. See where flies exposed to low doses of arsenic lived ~15% longer than without arsenic if they had the human arsenic methylation gene.

      In the study you mention, they only saw effects with at least one-STD excess intake of arsenic and one-STD was 118 mcg/L in drinking water. That’s a lot of arsenic. This study was done in Bangladesh where there is a lot of arsenic in drinking water. Baseline arsenic levels are around 100 mcg/L.

      In contrast, arsenic levels in rice sold in the US are more like 100 parts per billion, a thousand-fold lower than the levels in Bangladeshi water. See For comparison, to induce disease in mice and shorten lifespan by 15%, they feed them 5 milligrams per liter in drinking water, 5 parts per thousand, So death at 5 parts per thousand, pulmonary issues at 100 parts per million, possible lifespan extension at 60 parts per billion — the dose we get from rice.

  28. I cannot find mention of flax seed though I know you do not recommend seed oils. If used within 1 minutes of grinding I understand that this is a very nutritious addition to the diet and rich in omega-3. Thanks

  29. Hi – I have just bought your book via Kindle and am only about 1/4 through it, but reading daily. Have just ordered the hard copy as well to use as a ready reference. My question is: Can I eat raw coconut fresh from the shell? I love it but am not sure if this is a good food … bearing in mind the fat content?? Thank you.

    • Yes, it is an excellent food. It is high in fiber and is potentially allergenic, so a few people will have a sensitivity to it, but generally it is an excellent fat. Coconut milk is an A+ source of fat or cooking oil.

      • Paul, I think you are saying coconut *meat* is potentially allergenic, not coconut *oil*; am I correct in that interpretation? Thanks.

  30. Hi there,
    I just stumbled upon your blog and book this week and am fascinated! I am currently trying to heal from IBS (extreme distention), fructose malabsorption as well as regain normal menstrual cycles as I have amenorrhea and have had irregular periods and low libido my whole life… I just started eating a low fodmap diet and feelthe best that i have in years eating primarily white rice olive oil and fish. I’m wondering Ifnintermittent fasting is necessary/recommended and if you would recommend anything else? I don’t tolerate egg yokes (they make me extremely dizzy tithe point of blacking out). Thanks so much!!!

  31. Hi Paul,
    I have just recently found your blog & purchased the book & I am really looking forward to receiving it.
    I just have a couple questions (I apologise if these are addressed in the book):
    My partner & I are currently 2 weeks into a low carb, ketogenic diet. I have struggled in the past to get him to embrace more healthy saturated fats etc but he has an “all or nothing” type personality so now that he has embraced it he is being quite strict & wants to continue this way for 12 weeks until he has shifted the excess weight. The results have been good so far, we have both lost weight and he is feeling much better.
    My question is, are there any risks involved with following a ketogenic diet (for a set period of time) & would we have any issues transitioning to PHD? Also, I notice that you recommend quite a few supplements, are these essential when following PHD?
    Thanks for your time & help,

  32. This is hopefully a very simple question – what is the difference between the US and UK versions? Both are available on Book Depository. Most US based books have odd terms we have to translate, but I’m not sure what other differences there would be? (Oh and the metric measurements we sometimes have to use!)

    • SI vs American units, British vs American spellings, and localization of examples — eg data from the UK rather than US.

      Also, some capsule recipes were added to the US edition with the release of the paperback edition in 2013, the British version is still identical to the US 2012 hardcover edition.

  33. Hi, all this talk about getting sunshine, is there a good time for a podcast about SunFriend. the new daily UV/Sun activity monitor that helps people of any skin color get a healthy dose of sun without overdoing it? Happy to send products to review! 202.907.4474

  34. Hello,
    I’m writing to let you know about ‘Inspired by Shark Tank’.
    Take a moment to check it out my paleo inspired Indiegogo campaign and also share it with your friends. All the tools are there. Get perks, make a contribution, or simply follow updates. If enough of us get behind it, we can make ‘Inspired by Shark Tank’ happen! The only way this campaign will be successful is through social media outlets so please share. Thank you for your time! Tiffany

  35. I hope you read this and respond!! I just started the PHD diet about 3 weeks ago and I already ate a mostly PHD diet to begin with but the biggest changes I’ve made are adding in the safe starches, mainly white potatoes which I’ve always thought were the most evil unhealthy veggie out there, and the intermittent fasting. . So my question is, I’m currently 10 days late to get my period and yes it’s possible I could be pregnant but I wanted to know if the addition of eating about a pound of safe starches (from white potatoes, plantains and winter squash) and intermittent fasting could affect my period? I’m 5’0, 26yrs old, active and work out a lot, no weight issues and actually feel better with the addition of white potatoes. Is my body adjusting perhaps?

    • Hi Kaitlyn,

      It’s more common for being low-carb to disrupt or delay periods, and adding carbs to restore normal periods. However, I’d definitely expect fertility to increase with the addition of starches, so pregnancy is a possibility; or it could be that the period was re-set and adding the starches triggered ovulation, moving you earlier in the period. I’d give it a few months for the adaptation to the restored starches to complete before judging what’s going on.

      Best, Paul

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